…I show vice triumphing everywhere, and virtue as the victim of its own sacrifices, I show an unfortunate woman wandering from misfortune to misfortune, a plaything of wickedness and vice; who is stunned by the boldest and most specious sophisms; and who is prey to the most skilful seductions, the most irresistible subordinations; a woman who has only the tenderness of her soul, a sensitive heart, a natural spirit and great courage with which to oppose the great number of reverses and so many plagues, and to push back corruption. In a word, I have painted the boldest dangers, the most extraordinary situations, and the most alarming maxims, with the most energetic strokes of the pen, for the sole purpose of obtaining from it one of the most sublime moral lessons that man has ever received. It is all so that one can arrive at the goal by a road not much travelled until now.
The Marquis De Sade – Justine, or The Misfortunes of Virtue
Vice: virtue turned on its head
The BBC is reporting that Mr Mako Tabuni one of Papua’s most vocal independence activists was shot dead on Thursday by troops from the Australian funded and trained Detachment 88 counter-terror troops. Detachment 88 was formed after the hideous Bali bombing in 2002 and was (and remains) primarily trained and bankrolled by the United States and Australia via the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”). As expected from such a counter terrorist unit, the group is trained in hostage rescue, defusing bombs, surveillance techniques and interrogation, etc. As such, their purpose is to locate and destroy (“pre-emptive strikes”) Islamic terrorist groups – that operate within Indonesia’s borders.
Accusations of Abuse and Torture: Much like its sister service, Kopassus, Detachment 88 has been accused by many groups of torture and systematic abuse of Indonesian citizenry. Amnesty International released a statement (dated August 4th, 2010) in which they reported that Detachment 88 uses illegal detention and torture. In the statement, Amnesty Notes:
Detachment 88 police officers, who have regularly been accused of involvement in torture, arrested the activists on 2nd August . The activists had been planning to use a visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Maluku province on 3 August to draw attention to human rights violations there.
We fear these activists are at risk of extremely brutal treatment given the record of Detachment 88” said Donna Guest, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director for Amnesty International. Independence activists in Maluku have been tortured with impunity by police in the past
Amnesty International is not the only group to report their concern. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also reported on these abuses. In June 2010, HRW released a report entitled Prosecuting Political Aspiration which also noted abuses by Detachment 88.
In response to a question asked by Australian Senator Trood on 22 February 2011, the AFP responded with:
The involvement of the AFP in training programs at JCLEC allows the AFP to impress on regional counterparts some of the values the AFP holds such as human rights and ethics in policing.
The principles of human rights are embedded in all JCLEC programs and police accountability is incorporated in scenario-based activities.
So much for the ability of the AFP “to impress on regional counterparts some of the values the AFP holds such as human rights and ethics in policing” or perhaps the activities of Detachment 88 that both Amnesty and HRW have criticised are the same ones that “the AFP holds”!
The assassination of Mako Tabuni
Indonesian security forces claim that Mr Tabuni was killed after resisting arrest in the Indonesian occupied town of Jayapura, Papua’s main town. He was wanted by the Indonesian authorities “for causing unrest in the province” a euphemism for demanding his civil and political rights, rights that are innate to all human beings. In fact Part 3 article 6 of the United Nations International covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that:
Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life
Activists and human rights groups say Mr Tabuni was unarmed when he was shot. Mr Tabuni was at the time of his assassination one of the key leaders of the Papuan independence movement and had repeatedly called for the Indonesian government to hold a referendum in the province.
Human rights groups say when police tried to arrest Mr Tabuni, he ran away. The Papua-based human rights group ELSAM has told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific program police were responsible for the shooting, stating that:
Mako Tabuni with his friends, they went out from his house and maybe five to 10 metres from his house three cars, which are used by police, came to him and the police went out from three cars and they shot him.
After being shot, Mr Tabuni was taken by the Indonesian police to the police hospital in Jayapura, where he reportedly died from his wounds soon after arrival. It has been reported that the Kapolres (police chief) has told media outlets that Mr Tabuni was killed because he resisted arrest and attempted to seize weapons from some Detachment 88 troops. However Indonesian police have been inconsistent on this issue.
The Indonesian Government blames the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), for which Mr Tabuni was the secretary-general, for a series of unexplained shootings in recent weeks and ordered a police crack-down on its supporters.
Supporters of Mr Tabuni have reacted angrily to the news of his death, taking to the streets and allegedly burning houses belonging to military and police in the Ruko, Waena and Abepura areas.
According to reports form the BBC and ABC, Indonesian security forces are out in force in Jayapura targetting associates of Mr Tabuni with orders to shoot rioters dead on sight. Almost certainly this would create a extremely volatile situation. The question needs to be asked, who is damaging property, the security forces of supporters of Mr Tabuni.
A tribute to a fallen warrior
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Shakespeare Sonnet 73
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